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Jobs Creating Search Engines

Software Engineers

The largest group of computer specialists being hired at Google are software engineers, often just called computer engineers. Software engineers must be able to understand computer programming and various languages, but they generally focus on software development. These computer specialists design, develop, test, and evaluate software programs before they are made available to the public. In some cases, software engineers must also possess strong computer programming skills, with the languages C, C++, and Java being most important. Software engineers often work in a team environment depending on the client's needs. In 2004, there were about 800,000 software engineers in the United States according to the Department of Labor, but this number is expected to grow more rapidly than other occupations over the next decade.

Many of the most interesting jobs at Google are in software development, and many departments are also now requesting that potential employees understand more about computer-human interaction and user interface design and testing. These applications, and especially software that involves functions that use artificial intelligence, demand that potential applicants have at least some background in human behavioral psychology. Eventually, taking college classes in human psychology will become necessary for everyone seeking positions in software engineering.

While the Department of Labor says computer engineers “usually have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or computer information systems,” it also notes that employers value more advanced degrees. It is also a good idea to have experience working with a wide range of computer languages and operating systems. Software engineers must be able to explain what they want to the computer programmer, so the ability to communicate well across a wide range of technologies is highly valued.

Most of the innovation taking place with specific search engine companies such as Google and Yahoo! is also occurring in software design, so the number of software engineers needed between 2004 and 2014 is expected to skyrocket by more than 56 percent. The U.S. Department of Labor reports $36.16 per hour as the median salary of computer software engineers, or about $75,000 annually. The more experience a person has in his or her field obviously increases his or her earning potential. The highest paid software engineers can earn upward of $115,000 annually, with the majority of positions offering substantial benefits packages, including paid sick and vacation time, health care, retirement savings accounts, and stock options. Software engineers typically work a forty-hour week.

Highly skilled and experienced software engineers have the potential to become consultants, often a choice that offers a higher salary and the ability to work fewer hours. Consultants are often hired as freelance employees for temporary jobs. In 2004, there were approximately 23,000 freelance software engineers employed at various firms throughout the United States.

Students who desire a future working as software engineers should, like other computer enthusiasts, take as many classes in mathematics as possible. Gaining a familiarity with various operating systems, computer languages, and writing basic programs will also be useful. Most college students interested in software engineering major in computer science or computer information systems. College students may also benefit from summer internship programs, as well as co-op education programs offered through specific schools. When searching for that first job, potential software engineers should consider large companies with extensive training programs, mentoring opportunities, and a steady growth rate. Be prepared to continue your education as needed to keep abreast of key developments in technology. Traveling has also recently been a factor in some companies, as more and more firms are outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCool Science CareersJobs Creating Search Engines - Computer Programmers, Beyond Google, Software Engineers, Computer Systems Analysts